Top 10 Big Quilt Design Ideas — Part 1

It always fascinates me when I see a new quilt pattern.

Who created it?

What was their inspiration?

What box has the designer climbed out of — and which ones have they  not fully explored?

How closely does the end product align with his/her original vision?

I also wonder where the design starts?

–Does the designer settle down with graph paper and colored pencils?

–Do they use  EQ software , Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Illustrator?

Contemplating these questions has lead me to create a list of big ideas — quilting design techniques that anyone can use as a springboard to hone their own pattern-making skills.

For your consideration, I present my list of the Top 5 (of 10) Big Quilt Design Ideas:

  1. Blow it up.  Take your favorite block and make it a full size quilt. I adore this Giant Vintage Sheet Star quilt by in Color Order.
  2. Pixelate it. Go high tech and think about how little bitty squares can be combined to make an intricate and intriguing picture. Consider this pixelated skull Dios de la Muerte wall hanging pattern from November 2017. Or Cindy’s new butterfly pattern.
  3. Go crazy. Forget design — just grab your scrap bag and start sewing. I found a wonderful crazy quilt tutorial from Sherry Noel. I want to try this. I’m thinking it will be an excellent stress relief activity!
  4. Make it 3-D. I love the idea of taking a fabulous print and making it 3-D with beautiful thread. Since attending the Chicago International Quilt Festival this spring, I am thinking about the importance of thread choices all the time. I am obsessed with this technique. Christine Baker has some tips on Quilt Social. 
  5. Strip it down. Pre-cut Jelly Rolls are the bomb, right? But what do you do with them when you have them in your hot little hands? Think like a designer and combine those strips with abandon. I’m inspired by the Cinched Jelly Roll quilt from Splish, Splash, Stash. This design lends itself to easy customization (I used a patriotic jelly roll and then I added a star block to my cinch and gifted it to an international student I was mentoring). For my 3-heart Pattern, I used monochromatic white jelly roll strips to make a fast and easy background for my heart.

I’ll be back soon with the next group of my Big Quilt Design Ideas. What would quilt design techniques would you add to the list?


11 thoughts on “Top 10 Big Quilt Design Ideas — Part 1

  1. rl2b2017 says:

    Hi Sandy,
    I’m with Wendy and don’t really enjoy working with jelly rolls. My reason is because they are never a consistent size and those sawtooth edges drive me NUTS! I do like having a whole roll of different fabrics that coordinate – that is very cool. I don’t have any design suggestions to add – we only seem to design a quilt for a specific theme or person. It usually involves appliqué pieces. I look forward to part 2!
    Happy Thursday! ~smile~ Roseanne

    • sandradny says:

      Roseanne — I think I like jelly rolls because when I find the wonky cutting, it makes me feel better about my own suspect cutting skills! LOL!

  2. tierneycreates says:

    Flutterby Blue is a very cool pattern! I love the pixelation! I would like to make a pixelated schnauzer quilt someday! I loved your top 5 of 10 Big Quilt Design ideas!

  3. Melanie McNeil says:

    You’ve offered some really good ideas. Blow it up, crop it, cut it in pieces and reassemble, turn it on point, turn it inside out, reverse the typical values, do it in lots of sizes…

    I’m with the others — no jelly rolls for me. I’ve never used one. I always prewash, and of course it would be difficult to prewash them. Plus I’ve seen friends struggle with the sizing. That would be fine when precision isn’t required, but not helpful when it is.

    Thanks for the ideas.

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